School Choice Stories: Katie Switzer

“My husband and I moved to West Virginia about four years ago. We have three children and expecting our fourth in the next month. Our oldest just turned five and he’s getting ready to enter kindergarten.”

 

“As we prepare for that, my husband and I have started to explore the educational options that are here in Morgantown, West Virginia. We’ve had different experiences with schooling – I went to public school in New York, K-12, but my husband had a very bad public school experience in Pennsylvania.”

 

“He was bullied so extremely that his parents pulled him out of the school and put him in private school so that he could get away from the environment there. I’ve always kept that in the back of my mind, but I had assumed our kids were going to a public school.”

 

“I began learning that the schools in West Virginia were not that great. We started to hear about low performance and disparate educational outcomes. Plus, when we first moved here there was a lot going on with a teacher strike, which was kind of a red flag to me.”

 

“Once we had realized that the school district we are in is not as good as we thought, and there were few other options for us – because you’re stuck with whatever schools are in your zip code – we started looking at private schools.”

 

“But with four kids, we realized private school is just not affordable for all of us.”

 

“It’s hard to have consistency of education from K-12 in Morgantown, because many of the private schools only go to eighth grade. But now, there is another option that came up recently, which is this new nonprofit public charter school. I think it would be the first in the state and it’s supposed to be in our area.”

 

“There was so much pushback from the teacher unions when I went to an informational meeting. Our kids deserve a choice, and I was shocked at the behavior at this meeting. I’d really like to see this school become an option for families in the area.”

 

“What I would like to see as a parent of kids entering the school system is an opportunity for choice – education savings accounts, tax incentives, policies to allow choice.”

 

“For families like ours, education savings accounts would make a huge difference because they’d give us a lot of flexibility. Just because a school isn’t right for someone like our child or family doesn’t mean it’s a bad school – but parents should have the option to choose which school they think is a good fit for their kids.”

 

“My daughter has a speech delay, and the district was incredibly inflexible with how they managed that situation. I refused to enroll my daughter in early pre-K there. It would be wonderful to be financially free to choose the educational model that is best for her.”

 

“Pretty much every parent I know that has kids in the public school system – or are entering the public school system – are very frustrated with the lack of flexibility, the lack of communication and the way they teach. Every other state around us has in-person learning, and the public schools are continuing to fight to not provide some level of in-person teaching.”

 

“Pretty much every parent I know would like to see more flexibility and school choice for their kids. We’d like to see options.”

 

Katie Switzer

Morgantown, West Virginia